Big Boy is living at a foster home arranged through the Whidbey Island Farm Animal Assistance Program after his former owner agreed to give him up. Photo by Jenn Gravel.

Big Boy is living at a foster home arranged through the Whidbey Island Farm Animal Assistance Program after his former owner agreed to give him up. Photo by Jenn Gravel.

Hay needed to feed horse rescued from abuse

Big Boy doesn’t mind wearing a Santa hat, but this season he needs a few of Santa’s helpers.

The large-size horse eats a lot, and the nonprofit group that’s caring for him is running low on money to buy hay.

Laura Price, president of Whidbey Island Farm Animal Assistance Program, explained that Big Boy is living at a foster home after his former owner agreed to give him up.

Price is also a sergeant with the Island County Sheriff’s Office.

Big Boy’s former owner faced animal cruelty charges after he and another horse were badly undernourished and a third horse died.

“He’s a sweet horse,” she said.

The group is asking horse lovers and Good Samaritans to consider helping feed Big Boy since the group doesn’t currently have a lot of money to care for animals in its charge.

People can buy bales of hay directly from a couple of businesses or donate money to the group.

In addition, the nonprofit will be looking for a volunteer coordinator in the new year to help with setting long-range goals, vetting volunteers, working with other organizations and fundraising.

Whidbey Island Farm Animal Assistance Program is the only entity on the island that cares for farm animals that are found in dire straits.

There are shelters and other help for cats and dogs, but not for those that “nay” or “moo.”

The group has helped horses, goats, pigs and even an ostrich, according to Price.

In addition, volunteers assist the owners of animals with things like building fences, learning the basics of animal husbandry and picking up loose livestock.

The group learns about people who need help from the county’s animal control officer.

“A lot of what we do is working with owners on their property, assisting them and helping to make the animals’ lives a little better,” Price said.

Those interested in buying hay for Big Boy can do so at Steve Metcalf Hay and Feed at 3063 Oak Harbor Road or Skagit Farmers Supply in Oak Harbor.

The donations will go on the books and Big Boy’s foster mom will be able to pick up the hay when needed.

n Anyone interested in making a donation to the group or interested in volunteering can call Laura Price at 360-678-4422, email to her at or check out the group’s Facebook page.

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